Headstash's DelFest 2012 Review Guide and Photo Gallery
- By Jordan August
- Published on May 30, 2012
May 24-27 – Cumberland, Maryland
5th year – Estimated attendance: 11,000
Festival Website: http://delfest.com/
If there’s one thing every patron at DelFest is aware of, it's the stormy weather that often occurs at the event. This year was no different with some heavy rainfall.
Sunday night was capped off with the biggest storm of the weekend. Sky bending lightning bolts pushed back music for a few hours as festival announcers asked for everyone to take cover wherever they could. Large mud pits formed throughout the fairgrounds, but that didn't stop anyone from having their fun all night long.
Friendliest environment ever. I’ve been to a lot of festivals – ones of all styles, locales and climates. DelFest was full of the nicest people you could ever ask for. A lot of older people come to gather with the next generation of pickers and pass along their stories of the bluegrass trail. Kirkpatrick
Stage placement. Even with the overlapping sets throughout the weekend, the placement and position of each stage made it very easy to jump back and forth and not miss too much of an act. Even from my campsite I could hear the music like I was laying in the back of the field.
Air-conditioned late-nights. Every night the Main Stage would shut down around midnight and the separately ticketed late-night shows would start the raucous and intimate parties. The cool air didn’t stop pumping until 4:00 a.m.
Railroad Earth's Thursday night set was absolutely incredible. The diehard RRE crew was there in full force as early-bird campers filled in. These guys threw down, played a ton of crowd-favorites and kept us moving the whole time.
The Del McCoury Band has made so many influential moves in the bluegrass world. One thing that everyone still loves to see is there traditional single mic show. It displays immense camaraderie and skill. What a great way to watch, learn and enjoy a sunset set.
Yonder Mountain String Band has been kicking ass for years now. Song after song was pure perfection. Fans in the front called out songs in hopes to get their requests granted, and every now and then, they were fulfilled.
The Main Stage of the festival had a nice open back for you to see the end of the peak that surrounds the fairgrounds. No matter where you stood, your vantage point was filled with breathtaking views.
Keller Williams is no stranger to the festival circuit. The coolest part of the Keller and McCourys set was the mesh of traditional shredders with Keller’s comedic and unique approach to picking.
The unique part about The Emmitt-Nershi Band is their jam-grass approach to traditional songs and structures. They have no fancy pedals or effects to use – it’s just true talent and feeling.
Last year, Sam Bush brought on the most intense hailstorm in DelFest history. This time around, he brought sunshine and 90 degree temperatures to the full field.
What can I say about Steve Martin? For one, I never thought that I would see this guy live. His show was much different then I expected, yet still quite amazing. I have an old vinyl of his from the 80s and it was nice to here him grow so much as a player since his early recordings. Not surprisingly, his comedy throughout the show was pretty damn funny. Everyone was in awe of his presence.
Wet and wild. Although you come prepared for DelFest to be wet and muddy, it’s never fun to come back to your campsite in eight inches of water – especially when many festivalgoers don’t have a car to camp near to escape the inclement weather.
Del McCoury with Yonder Mountain String Band. The hype for Yonder the entire weekend was high. Long talks of what songs could be played and what guests they would have were common in the campsites.
Jeff Austin was like a 10-year-old on Christmas morning when his idol joined him on stage. What a feeling to see such a popular musician get so ecstatic.
David Mayfield’s day set. There’s nothing like going a festival and catching an artist you never heard that you know you’ll be listening to for years to come. I had no idea what to expect going into the show but I was pleasantly surprised.
His set was chock full of playful, flirtatious and semi-erotic behavior. He was a true performer and it was an incredible entertaining way to start the weekend.
Bela Fleck jazz group. It’s not a bluegrass festival without Bela Fleck. The biggest surprise of this set was its style of music. Set inside the Music Hall, Fleck let loose some smooth jazz to a sit-down audience. What a beautiful way to spend a hot afternoon.
DelFest is set on some of the most beautiful countryside in Maryland. The fairgrounds sat in a valley at the bottom of a gorgeous mountain peak full of cliffs, lush trees and a mountain road that would occasionally light up with country drivers.
Families and friends both young and old all gathered for four days of amazing bluegrass music. I truly wish all festivals could feel like this – the feeling of pure freedom with no sense of grime or illegal hustle surrounding it.
DelFest is pure peace, pure love for music and pure family.
"There are two people who made me do what I do today: Jerry Garcia and this man right here, Del McCoury." – Yonder Mountain String Band's Jeff Austin shortly after his idol joined him on stage.
"They told me that if I said 'hell yeah' and not 'Del yeah' I was going to have to do push-ups." – Todd Shaeffer of Railroad Earth.
Check out our coverage of all your favorite summer festivals in our 2012 Festival Guide.
What did you think of DelFest 2012? Highlights, lowlights and surprises. Let us know in the comments below.